Woman says she received fine for HOT lane, despite paying

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

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ATLANTA —

A Gwinnett County woman said a Peach Pass fine she got while using the Interstate 85 high occupancy toll lanes could be a lesson to everyone.

She said she had her Peach Pass set to pay the HOT lane toll switched on while she was on Interstate 85, but police still stopped her and gave her a $96 fine.

“I carpool usually with coworkers or other students. I’m a student at Georgia State University,” Sana Badshah told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh. "You can be in non-toll mode as long as you have three or more people.”

In non-toll mode, drivers ride the I-85 HOT lanes for free.

Badshah said one day in June, she dropped off her carpoolers and immediately changed her Peach Pass from non-toll mode to toll mode. She started back on the road again headed for the interstate.

Moments later, she saw Department of Public Safety blue lights flashing behind her. 

"He said I have to wait the entire 15 minutes before entering the HOT lane again,” Badshah said. “He said that I didn't wait the 15 minutes, and there's nothing he can do."

Badshah said it took her about seven minutes to reach the HOT lanes after her Peach Pass to toll mode.

A spokesperson for the State Road and Tollway Authority, or SRTA, emailed Kavanaugh saying:

"For both technological and safety reasons, it is critical that customers change their toll mode before they start their trip and at least 15 minutes before getting in the Express Lane."

SRTA says it can take that much time for the system to catch up.

But Badshah says that wasn't the case with her. When she looked at her records, she saw that her Peach Pass was charged that morning before she got pulled over.  

"So 9:12 a.m. and I got charged a fee for .70 cents. That's the same time as my ticket, which is at 9:20 am."

“With a ticket for almost $100 as well as a toll on top off that, it's like I'm getting double charged," Badshah said.

SRTA said it is willing to review an individual customer's situation to see if the appropriate actions were taken and will certainly do that in this case.

It plans to work with Gwinnett Solicitors’ office to review the case.